Insects and People: News Roundup (March 29)

A few news stories from the past few weeks:

Locust Outbreaks in Madagascar, Egypt, and Israel

About half of Madagascar is currently experiencing the largest locust plague since the 1950’s (news reports here and here).  Because locusts consume large amounts of food plants of people and livestock, the plague could cause hunger in up to 60% of the population.  Managers estimate that $41 million dollars over the next three years will be needed to combat the locust plague.

This site has amazing photos of another locust plague moving from Egypt to Israel.

 Insect Pollination

Two articles (here and here) discuss several new scientific publications about insect pollinators.  Researchers find that wild bees do a better job of pollinating than managed bee colonies.  Other papers find that pollinator diversity is important to effective pollination, but that pollinator diversity has declined since the late 1800’s.

NPR has a related story about beekeepers in California suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to protect bees.   The beekeepers claim that the EPA has been too slow to evaluate and regulate chemical pesticides that harm bees.

Edit:  After posting this news roundup, I can across a New York Times article on declining bee populations.  It discusses the potential harmful effects of pesticides on bees.

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